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Subject: Reed Troubles...


Author:
Bob
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Date Posted: 23:06:18 03/16/02 Sat

I'm a fairly new piper who has been having cane reed troubles for quite some time now. My teacher has not been able to help the problem at all...
What the problem is is that the reed plays very flat, so flat that the drones have to be pulled out VERY far - to the point where they fall out if I move the wrong way. To add to that, the high G and A are both a full half step flat below that. There is no difference between my G and my F. If anyone has any ideas as to what might be wrong, please enlighten me. Thanks!

-Bob

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Replies:
[> Subject: Re: Reed Troubles...


Author:
Kelly
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Date Posted: 12:06:22 03/17/02 Sun

Enlighten us more. What reed and chanter combonation are you using? What brand of pipes do you have?
One thing that you may want to do is get on Chris Hamilton's website and go under the "goodies" section and read up on his problem solving section. There is a world of information in there that may help so read it all. It has helped me and many other pipers.
If you need the web address you can email me and I'll be happy to send it to you.
Take care and good luck. -Kelly

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[> Subject: Re: Reed Troubles...


Author:
Hank Delison
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Date Posted: 15:58:40 03/17/02 Sun

>I'm a fairly new piper who has been having cane reed
>troubles for quite some time now. My teacher has not
>been able to help the problem at all...
>What the problem is is that the reed plays very flat,
>so flat that the drones have to be pulled out VERY far
>- to the point where they fall out if I move the wrong
>way. To add to that, the high G and A are both a full
>half step flat below that. There is no difference
>between my G and my F. If anyone has any ideas as to
>what might be wrong, please enlighten me. Thanks!
>
>-Bob

I don't quite understand, if you have an instructor why hasn't he or she told you how to tune a reed in! Or am I missing something here. If your reed tunes flat, push it into the chanter seat a bit, try it and if it's still flat push it in some more. You may, probably have to take some of the hemp off of it. It you wind up too sharp, pull it out by wraping a bit of hemp around the bottem of the reed. I had to do this just last nite with the band. My reed was way sharp. Wrapped a bit of hemp around the bottem and I was good to go.
Maybe you've tried this already. In which case, throw the reed into your case and try a different reed. That one just doesn't fit your chanter.
Bottem line here is your teacher should have told you all of this. If not, find a new teacher.
Sorry to sound so rough, but you did say your teacher had been no help.
Hank

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[> Subject: Re: Reed Troubles...


Author:
PiperDown
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Date Posted: 16:37:12 03/17/02 Sun

My personal experience with this problem when I was a new piper was that the relative "easiness" of a reed required to play at this level lends itself to poor tone. "Easy" reeds tend to be shaved, pinched, or whet to the point that the fibers of the reed are so broken down that they no longer produce good tone.

If you have a tuner, check your low A and see where it sits. Your reed may be seated too flat and thus your drones have to be tuned fully out to match your chanter. Preferences vary but low A should be at least 440 cycles or higher (440-470 is ok to start).

Sink your reed to get your low A within this range. Unfortunately, with this reed you'll have to tape the crap out of the lower holes to match your flat Hg and Ha. This isn't all together a bad thing as you'll have a louder high hand relative to the already loud low hand but you'll find setting a balanced chanter may be difficult. Until your strength and stamina allow you to play more stable reeds, this will always be a problem.

Also, start with a nice reed of good material. Not all reeds are created equal and some reeds use a finer cane material that lends itself to greater manipulation. I like Shepherd reeds but there are other good ones out there. There are reed shaving techniques that theoretically can change note tone as well as ease of playing. Someone else can probably explain this better than I can.

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[> Subject: Re: Reed Troubles...


Author:
Peter Kosmoski
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Date Posted: 17:54:01 03/28/02 Thu

All the previous advice sounds right to me. Here's more for you.

Play low A, then high A at the proper pressure (the proper pressure is generally the lowest pressure that sounds the high A, or only slightly above that pressure). If the high A is flat relative to the low A, the reed needs to be pushed in further. If the high A is sharp, take it out, add more hemp and replace the reed so that it's not in the chanter quite as deep as it was before.

Once the the two A's match up, check the other notes. If any notes are sharp, you can "tape them up", meaning wrap tape around the chanter, so the upper part of the offending hole is covered with tape. This will flatten that particular note.

If any of the other notes are flat, I'd recommend a different reed for the chanter. Another (unattractive) option involves taping most of the holes (7 out of the 8 to be exact), but this is complicated to explain and I'm leaving that one alone! Still another option involves scraping the proper area of the reed to bring the offending notes into tune. To do this, you need about 20 years experience in the craft, and you also probably need special... spiritual powers. If you can pull this one off, you would have been burned at the stake in less modern times. Honestly, at this point it's best to try another reed.

Question - is this a reputable (Scottish) chanter? Just wondering, because you'll never get one of those Paki chanters to sound right...


Hope this helped,

Pete

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[> Subject: Re: Reed Troubles...


Author:
Spanky
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Date Posted: 22:28:27 04/22/02 Mon

My teacher has not
>been able to help the problem at all...

Well after reading everything my conclusion is the following.

Get yourself a NEW TEACHER !!! Period

Spanky

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